A Humbling Experience
Currently the human primate recognises 111 other primate species on the African mainland and 105 species on Madagascar! So, there is a lot to look for and they occur in such a variety of habitats that it is rare during a safari to not see some of these. However, for most tourists wanting to see primates the discussion is mainly around the various Gorillas and Chimpanzee species or the lemurs of Madagascar. The other smaller species and less well known are an added bonus. When trekking in the forested areas in search of these large primates it is not uncommon to come across the smaller primates like Mangabeys, Colobus, Grivets etc. so if you have a species that you particularly want to see we can work out how best to get you near that tree.
To prepare for trekking either Chimpanzees or Mountain Gorillas you do need to have reasonable level of fitness as the terrain can be challenging, they are not called Mountain Gorillas for no reason. You can be out for a few hours walking along narrow, sometimes slippery paths on steep gradients through the jungle, so I would say as a minimum to enjoy your time is, can you walk 8km/5miles easily and do a bit of time on staircases. The fitter you are the more you will enjoy your time.
A time for reflection
The Mountain Gorillas and Chimpanzees are typically seen in Uganda and Rwanda and they have a very organised system of permits, guides, lodges etc. to make this incredible experience all happen. However, I always suggest to people to consider Lowland Gorillas in either Gabon or Republic of Congo (It is not the DRC), the main reason is that these are true jungle experiences and completely immersive. Spending time in these jungles there is so much more to experience and see than only the 1 hour with a gorilla or chimp family. You can see forest elephants, forest buffalo, lots of other primate species, bongo, sitatunga and so on, there is lots going on here.
If this is a real bucket list experience and you are not physically able, we’ve got you, it is possible to arrange a local team of porters that will carry you on a stretcher type arrangement through the forest to get you to the sighting. These guys are amazing, and you will be helping with some local employment it is a win for all. Let us know and we can prearrange this for you.